Seedlings Education - 02/12/2020

1 Evaluation of Seedlings Education

How well placed is Seedlings Education to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Seedlings Education is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Seedlings Education is licensed for up to 60 children from infancy to five years of age. Educators provide education and care for up to four children at a time. Most children in this network are of Chinese heritage.

Programme coordinators are qualified, experienced teachers and bring varied teaching experiences to their roles. They regularly visit educators in their homes and support them to plan educational programmes for children. Coordinators also monitor health and safety provision.

Seedlings Education's philosophy focuses on supporting and nurturing children in collaboration with educators, whānau and the wider community. A priority is for children to be immersed in their own home culture and language.

Good progress has been made since ERO's 2017 review. The ownership and leadership structure of the service has changed since the review. There has been an emphasis on strengthening collaborative leadership and decision making. Documentation translated into children's home languages has contributed to meaningful connections with whānau.

This review was one of four homebased network reviews in a cluster operated by Seedlings Education Ltd.

The Review Findings

Programme coordinators establish respectful relationships with children and families linked to each educator. They provide detailed reports and feedback to build educator capability in catering for and extending children's learning. Infants, toddlers and young children benefit from a curriculum that is responsive to their learning needs.

Programmes and resources support children's cultural contexts. Home languages are prioritised as many educators share the same cultural background. Children have good opportunities to develop creativity, early literacy and mathematical knowledge.

Programme coordinators meet to develop planning cycles that have a different focus each month. Clear and useful records focus on a child's wellbeing, learning and care. Coordinators organise outdoor excursions and playgroup/discovery days that offer opportunities for educators and children to play and learn together. They promote online communication and learning with digital technologies.

The service's focus on learning through play and the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, are evident in planning and documentation. The programme coordinator and educators regularly share children's learning with parents/whānau. Daily journals and learning portfolios document parents' aspirations and inform them of children's learning experiences. Documents are translated and tailored to meet the learning needs of the children.

Good transition practices nurture children's sense of belonging and participation in the network and their transition to school.

There are strong systems to support professional practice for programme coordinators and educators. Collaborative ways of working are fostered by everyone in the service. Individual strengths are valued and used to support all four networks. Professional learning opportunities are well established. Mentoring opportunities are strengthening individual practice.

Documentation shows that children experience a curriculum that reflects the dual heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. Programme coordinators promote a bicultural curriculum. They support the use of te reo Māori in educators' homes. Learning stories evidence the use of te reo Māori and integration of tikanga Māori across all networks.

Good systems are in place to identify and monitor the health and safety of adults and children in the homes. Appropriate policies guide practice and are regularly reviewed. The service makes good use of internal evaluation to plan long and short-term strategies that focus on improvement.

The owner/manager is an active participant in the service and fosters a team approach. He has a commitment to achieving a high-quality, home-based education service. There is an organisational culture of trust and respect. The management team work collaboratively to drive ongoing improvement and develop learning partnerships with educators, families and the community.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for the coordinators/leaders are to develop strategies to evaluate:

  • how well they support educators to strengthen their teaching practice

  • the effectiveness of the programme in achieving high quality learning outcomes for all children

  • how well strategic goals are leading to improvements in children's education and care.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Seedlings Education completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)

  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)

  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)

  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

2 December 2020

The Purpose of ERO Reports

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that, as part of its work, reviews early childhood services throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. ERO’s reports provide information for parents and communities about each service’s strengths and next steps for development. ERO’s bicultural evaluation framework Ngā Pou Here is described in SECTION 3 of this report. Early childhood services are partners in the review process and are expected to make use of the review findings to enhance children's wellbeing and learning.

2 Information about the Home-based Education and Care Service


East Tamaki, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

60 children, including up to 60 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded


Gender composition

Male 23

Female 19

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
other ethnic groups


Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

September 2020

Date of this report

2 December 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2017

Education Review

October 2012

3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children

Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children

Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children

Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

ERO’s Overall Judgement

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.